The Evil Basij Repress the Vast Majority of Iranians
The media in the West says there is this evil group called the Basij who come out and break up every demonstration, no matter how peaceful, with serious violence. Supposedly the vast majority of Iranians are being oppressed by this tiny group of thugs.
First of all, the Basij is simply something like the National Guard of Iran. The Basij has an incredible membership of 11 million men; in other words, an amazing 42% of Iranian men are part of the Basij. The Basij is not some tiny horrible group of monsters oppressing the vast majority of Iranians. The Basij is literally the Iranian people themselves, an army of the people if there ever was one.
Demonstrations, No Matter How Peaceful, Are Not Allowed in Iran and Are Always Broken Up with Violence
This is absolute nonsense. Though Iran is not Cuba where the only people who demonstrate are the Ladies in White – the wives and family members of political prisoners, neither is it China where there are 500 demonstrations every single day.
Instead it is somewhere in between. Nevertheless there are demonstrations all the time in Iran, practically every day, the vast majority of them are peaceful, and nothing ever happens. Khameini himself recently affirmed the Iranian people’s right to demonstrate peacefully about a wide range of issues.
The Peaceful Demonstrations about a Fuel Price Hike Got Broken up by Evil Regime Elements, Killing 1,500 demonstrators
First of all, that death toll is way off. It’s inflated by at least five times. The highest reasonable toll for those killed during the demonstrations is 300. Furthermore, the demonstrations that were broken up were not about the fuel hike, and they were certainly not peaceful. On the contrary, they were extremely violent, and from day one, they were advocating the violent overthrow of the government. In fact, they were actually trying to do just that – violently overthrow the government.
Here’s the truth about what happened.
Yes, there were large demonstrations about the fuel hike. The demonstrations were dumb though. Iranian gasoline is massively subsidized by the state to the point where Iranians pay ~10 cents/gallon for gas. The state simply cannot afford to keep subsidizing gas at that level, especially with the extreme sanctions it is under.
Furthermore, the regime advocated only a small raise in price from ~10 cents/gallon to ~20 cents/gallon. So what. In addition, all of the money saved by raising the gas price was going to be given to support the poor of Iran. So the gas hike was necessary, the new price was easily affordable, and the price increase was going for a great cause.
However, these demonstrations, which were all completely peaceful by the way, lasted for only one day. Huge crowds of peaceful protesters showed up to protest the fuel price hikes, and nothing happened to them.
However, at nightfall, violent protesters or rioters showed up, and all the peaceful protesters quickly left. After that it was nothing but violent rioting for a couple of weeks, with ~200,000 mostly young men burning down almost 100 banks and other buildings, destroying everything in sight, and attacking and even killing police.
Furthermore, these violent rioters had already showed up at the peaceful rally on motorcycles and fired on the demonstrators there. So they obviously weren’t there to protest the gas hikes. Instead, as noted, these violent rioters were trying to overthrow the government by force. Most but not all of the dead were violent rioters.
There are indeed demonstrations in Iran that get broken up, often with violence. These demonstrations feature young people, often university students, who are objectively contras or counterrevolutionaries. These demonstrators typically call for the overthrow of the regime either via force or otherwise. Demonstrators yell slogans like “Death to the dictator!” and fly American and Israeli flags.
The vast majority of Iranians absolutely hate these people. Surveys show that 85% of the population hate these contras, refer to them as traitors, and think that either sufficient force or not enough force was used to put down the riots.
The rioters have no support. Only ~15% support them. However, that boils down to a lot of people. There are ~8 million Iranians who support the violent overthrow of the regime. 8 million people can make a lot of noise and do a lot of damage, but they still only have 15% support.
There Is No Freedom of the Press in Iran
Although there are definitely limits on what you can say in Iran, and some journalists are arrested and sentenced to prison there, the press is freer than you think.
For instance, Iranian social media is a wildly free place swarming with contras. Hundreds of thousands or possibly millions of Iranians regularly post counterrevolutionary material there, often advocating for the violent overthrow of the government. There’s not a lot that the government does about this, as the situation is out of hand. Is Iran really going to arrest 2 million people for speech offenses? Come on.
After the recent accidental shootdown of the Ukrainian jet in Tehran, I looked at the English language editions of several Iranian papers. I was absolutely stunned by the headlines. All of these papers were furious at the jet shootdown and quite a few articles were demanding the resignation of the government and its replacement with new people.
The truth is that there are two large forces in Iran that are within the revolution. One is called the Reformers and the other is called the Hardliners. Right now, the Hardliners are in charge.
Recently the Reformers captured the presidency of Iran via elections. President Rouhani was a Reformer. However, the Rouhani Administration did not rule very well, and the voters threw them out at the ballot box. Yes, Iran has fairly free and fair elections, although there are occasional cases of vote fraud. Former President Ahmadinejad, a Hardliner, was said to be elected via fraud ion 2009.
Although the Reformers support the revolution, they are quite antagonistic towards the hardliners. All of those papers I saw with those incendiary headlines were run by Reformers. So in that sense, the Iranian media is extremely free.
Surveys of Iranians
Excellent surveys of the Iranian people, some run out of the University of Maryland, paint a completely different picture than the one we get in the Western media.
Surveys show that 78% of the population supports the current system of religious rule, 90% pray every day, 86% hate America, and the same number liked Soleimani. Iranians are very religious people – some of the most religious people on Earth – and Soleimani was the most popular political or military figure in Iran.
The contra riots typically call for an end to Iran’s foreign policy, where it is supporting the armed Shia forces in Yemen, Syria, and Lebanon in addition to supporting the Palestinians.
The Western media says the Iranian people are opposed to this foreign policy, which they see as expensive and unaffordable adventurism, but surveys show that ~2/3 of voters support Iran’s support of armed Shia groups in those countries. A similar number also back Iranian support for the Palestinians.
I’ve got some news for brainwashed Westerners. The Iranian Revolution has lots of supporters. Did you see the size of those crowds mourning Soleimani?
Even a lot of these hip young women with their push the limit hijabs you see nowadays showed up in huge numbers. Some of these women were wearing headbands saying things like “I Fight Israel.” I kept seeing photos of these hip young liberal women at the funeral processions, and I thought I must be hallucinating. Except I wasn’t. The media in the West lies constantly about Iran and never tells you the full and true story of what is going on there.